Our family has embarked on virtual travels to various countries and regions. To explore these countries and their cultures, we have followed along with the festivals, cooked and eaten traditional foods, learned of traditional handicrafts with hands on exploration, along with many activities to immerse ourselves. Chronicled here are some of these activities.

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Irish Escapade - St. Patrick's Day Dinner

For St. Patrick's Day,
we thought we'd venture out of China
and head over to the Emerald Isles.
Brotchen Foltchep & Irish Soda Bread
Last night, for St. Patrick's day, we cooked and ate an Irish dinner. I found most recipes at European Cuisines, a site I stumbled across searching for this meal, and am looking forward to using again.

We started off with delicious Irish soda bread, still warm from the oven. I think I could have simply made that, and we all would have been happy. The recipe comes from All Recipes, which I found via Glittering Muffins. The soup, Brotchen Foltchep is a leek and oatmeal soup, chosen because I had leeks, and I thought soup with oatmeal would be interesting. (It's always fun to freak the girls by combining words like soup and oatmeal.) It's a thick soup, that I enjoyed, but though the girls did eat it, they wouldn't recommend it. It was hard to convince them that this may have been a soup "fit for kings".
We followed that with salad and boxty with sour cream. Boxty is a traditional Irish potato pancake made with grated raw potato and mashed potatoes mixed with flour. It's such a part of the local culture that it inspired folk rhymes:
Boxty in the griddle
Boxty in the pan
If you don't eat your boxty,
You'll never get a man

Then we enjoyed dessert, farmhouse style Apple Tart with Potato Crust, that Pea made.

Apple Tart with Potato Crust and clotted cream

Apple Tart with Potato Crust
(Recipe adapted from European Cuisines)

  • 1 lb potatoes, scrubbed clean (3 medium potatoes)
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 large cooking apple, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp. sugar, plus more to sprinkle over crust
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
Boil the potatoes in their skin until you can easily pierce them with a fork, approximately 25 minutes. Drain, and allow them to steam for 5-10 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel the skin off. Mash the potatoes, or use a ricer (which requires a lot more strength than Pea realized).

Sift the baking powder and salt with the flour. Rub 4 tbsp of butter in with the flour, until its texture is similar to fine cornmeal. Add the potatoes, and knead for a few minutes. Separate the dough in two, and roll out for the bottom and top crusts.

Heat a griddle or frying pan on medium-low heat, and grease with butter. Carefully lift the bottom crust and place it in hot pan. Arrange apples slices over the crust, dot with 2 tbsp. butter, and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Cover with top crust and pinch the edges together. Sprinkle top crust with sugar.

Cook for 15-20 minutes, checking on the bottom crust occasionally to make sure it doesn't burn. Then the tricky part: flip the tart. Place a plate over the pie, and turn the frying pan over (oh the heavy cast iron pans). Once flipped on your plate, slide/nudge uncooked crust onto pan. Sprinkle the cooked top with sugar, and cook for another 15 minutes.

Slice directly from pan and serve. We had some English clotted cream we had yet to try that was a nice accompaniment. The tart was an interesting combination of potato and apple, sweet and salty. Pea loved it, which is nice since she made it.

Find more Irish crafts and recipes at with Around the World in 12 Dishes

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